Columnist Gary Rycroft: Here’s to a fun 2014

Gary Rycroft
Gary Rycroft

As 2013 draws to a close there will be mixed emotions as we all reflect on the ups and downs of the last year.

Locally there have been the usual mix of good and bad news stories and indeed some stories like the M6 link road debacle are in either the good or bad camp depending on who you are and what you think.

I’m a glass half-full person and one story which is definitely good news is the Eco-Housing project at Forgebank, Halton and the associated redevelopment of the adjacent Halton Mill into Green Elephant Mill.

Forgebank is a co-housing project so everyone has their own dwelling, but there is the opportunity to share facilities if desired.

It’s in a beautiful setting by the River Lune at Halton.

Most evenings some residents eat together but it’s not mandatory.

It wouldn’t suit everyone I know but all credit to committed folk who are trying to live to their own beliefs and ideals and be kinder to our fragile world.

Green Elephant Mill is something else.

It’s vibrant and fun and full of interesting, creative people.

Small businesses old and new are nurtured there and in many ways it’s the kind of “creative hub” The Storey Institute in Lancaster tried to be before it got bogged down in disputes and recriminations.

I wonder why Green Elephant Mill is succeeding and The Storey didn’t especially take off as it could have done? Green Elephant Mill is a lovely building but not overly kitted out.

The Storey is a lovely building and had a fortune spent on it so it was high spec in the extreme.

Yet maybe it’s the people not the spec who matter. There were some good people at The Storey and indeed some remain (the Café is brill by the way) but down by the river at Halton people are pulling together on a mission to somehow improve the world – and have fun.

So on that positive note, let’s toast 2014 and look forward to more full glasses and indeed more fun.